When you go to local foodie Facebook groups and ask, "Where should I go for [insert special occasion]?", chances are you will be told (more than once) to try Amore Trattoria Italiana on Alpine Ave. in Comstock Park.

You might look at where it's located and think, "a place way out there on Alpine? Really?", but it's a hidden gem just on the outskirts of Grand Rapids that's quickly gained popularity.

Jenna Arcidiacono, is the Head Chef/Owner of Amore along with her husband Maurizio. She says that they got the keys to Amore in on January 1, 2010 but didn't open their doors to the public until July of 2010.

What did you do upon getting the keys?

JENNA ARCIDIACONO: We started cleaning the restaurant top to bottom as soon as we got the keys. Maurizio and I had been wanted to open our own business for quite some time. We felt like the Grand Rapids area could use an authentic Italian trattoria (casual) dining spot.

Describe the Amore Customer

JA: Our customers are completely awesome and very diverse! We have quite a few amazing regulars after all of these years. It's been so cool to actually see people get engaged and then married and even start families. We've had a few "Amore babies" already!

Amore Trattoria Italiana via Facebook

What is the one popular menu item that really surprised you?

JA: One of our menu items that I threw out there was rabbit. In Italy, they eat it quite often. I found a local source (S&S Lamb) and asked on Facebook if the customers would be interested in it. They said yes, and it's been on our menu ever since!

This lasagna boasts 13+ layers

What is one thing on Amore's menu that you could eat every single day?

JA: There are a few things I do eat every day - our homemade focaccia croutons, our truffle potatoes, and arancini! (Quality control, of course!)

Amore's Arancini

Do you think Amore will ever franchise?

I can't imagine ever being a franchise. I really enjoy that Amore is a destination, and opening other locations would dull the excitement of this one.

When the business was first getting started, how was it funded?

When we started - we had a partner. We maxed out our credit cards and used sweat equity and elbow grease! After lots of hard work and tears - we can now say we are the sole owners.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking of launching a small business in West Michigan, what would it be?

My advice to anyone who wants to open a small business is this: it will be your new child, it will wake you up at night, it will be 1,000 times harder than you ever expected, you always have to be your own cheerleader, no one will ever care as much about your business as you do - no matter how much you might hope they do, don't give up!

Amore Trattoria Italiana

5080 Alpine Ave NW, Comstock Park (6 Mile and Alpine) | (616) 785-5344

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